Strategic Regeneration Update
The Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) provided the Committee with an update on strategic regeneration in the borough.
The full presentation can be accessed through the following link:
The aim of this presentation is to give a sense of the range of strategic and regeneration activities that have been undertaken or are in progress. It sets out activity in Delivery, Strategy and Vision.
Gravesham has 11km of riverfront. The Thames is a vital part of the DNA of Gravesham – it’s past, present and future. It is a big part of the future of the regeneration plans. Brownfield regeneration is key in the plan (Corporate Plan vision objective), delivering housing and employment opportunities.
The Charter - delivering 242 homes in the heart of the town centre and is a catalyst to stimulate the economy. Target completion 2023. A tender process for the Management Provider has been undertaken.
The Former Police Station site which has been vacant for several years went to planning committee in September 2022 for 75 later living homes, target start on site late 2022.
Former Maternity Block - Strawberry Star – target start on site 2023.
St George’s Square – creating a new civic and cultural hub and new homes. As part of the Levelling Up Fund Round 2 bid, 30 letters of support were secured from regional and local stakeholders.
Albion Waterside – potential to unlock delivery of 1500 riverside homes and 4500sq.m. of riverside commercial space.
Since February (first presentation to Committee), economic conditions have made regeneration/development even more difficult. To counter this, regular dialogue with key stakeholders is maintained, relationships with potential strategic partners are being strengthened and funding bids have been made.
Importance of Community and Place led regeneration noted. Update provided on Ward Walks with Members and offer made by ADSR to Members for future Ward Walks.
Design for Gravesham – ITT issued August 2022 - 923 views on Linked-in, 39 expressions of interest and 11 tenders returned. Evaluation of tenders progressing and interview process to be convened.
Understanding Gravesham’s unique heritage, character and identity is key. Gravesham has many opportunities but is in much need of levelling up with a low wage, low skill and low economy and areas of high crime, deprivation and health inequalities. Clarity of and co-production of the vision is important. How do we co-produce the 21st vision – we are finding ways for the community to help shape this vision.
We are working to put Gravesham on the map, we have produced videos which showcase the place and what it is to be proud to be Gravesham. We will also be attending a number of regional events with speaking opportunities and will be attending the Thames Estuary Conference in November.
• On-going progress on key regeneration projects
• Continue to strengthen relationships with strategic partners
• On-going ward walks and community engagement
• Development of Design for Gravesham
• Develop a holistic regeneration strategy for Gravesham Riverside
• Continue to promote the borough
Following the presentation the Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) commented as follows:
• Each individual site requires a bespoke approach:
The former Police Station is moving forward with a new developer with a track record for delivery.
Clifton Slipway – we have on-going discussions with developers to try to bring this scheme forward
It is trying to find the right people to work with us and pulling on the levers we have. We have as much opportunity here as there is in Dartford and Medway. Medway has had significant public investment. Regeneration takes time, it is not solved overnight and yet despite the challenges a number of sites are moving forward
• The new government administration has new emerging ideas and that may have possibilities
• Homes England has a strategic, place-led approach, they are a government body and are well placed to assist - we have had discussions around Albion Waterside. Homes England have been to Gravesend and visited the regeneration projects and fortnightly meetings are taking place with them.
• The increase in interest rates will put even more pressure on projects coming forward, making them more challenging to deliver. The Former Police Station, Strawberry Star (the old maternity block) and the old cinema site are coming forward despite challenges. Churchill Homes have now put hoarding/signage up.
• In terms of money, neighbouring councils have had significant investment. We continue to strengthen relationships with national, regional and local stakeholders and put Gravesham on the map!
Members noted the presentation and thanked the team for all the work that is being done on regeneration.